China’s economic output will lag behind the rest of Asia for the first time since 1990, according to new World Bank forecasts that highlight the damage wrought by President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policies and the meltdown of the world’s biggest property market.
The World Bank has revised down its forecast for gross domestic product growth in the world’s second-largest economy to 2.8 per cent, compared with 8.1 per cent last year, and from its prediction in April of between 4 and 5 per cent for this year.
At the same time, expectations for the rest of east Asia and the Pacific have improved. The region, excluding China, is expected to grow 5.3 per cent in 2022, up from 2.6 per cent last year, thanks to high commodity prices and a rebound in domestic consumption after the coronavirus pandemic.
“China, which was leading the recovery from the pandemic, and largely shrugged off the Delta [Covid variant] difficulties, is now paying the economic cost of containing the disease in its most infectious manifestation,” Aaditya Mattoo, the World Bank’s chief economist for east Asia and the Pacific, told the Financial Times.
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